But what can get in the way is what is usually known as "ego." That's the demon force within us that tells us we are special. We are entitled. We deserve every opportunity out there.
Why ego is an impediment in hunting for work, especially in this era of age bias, is that it shuts down our ability to figure out the best strategies and tactics to land jobs, contract assignments and new business for our enterprise.
Take Joe. As a volunteer in a recovery program, I help those who have been derailed get back into the work world.
Admittedly, Joe has been sober for almost five years. During that time he has held several contract jobs and one good one, with benefits, in his field of internal communications, Recently he had been laid off by a distressed financial services firm.
None of his cover letters for similar positions had resulted in interviews. No, he didn't drink. But he returned to being caught in his ego.
That, I gently reminded him, was blinding him to the factors he could control and managing them better.
No, he couldn't control his age and the growing hostility toward the aging worker.
He couldn't control the reality that some financial institutions in his geographical location were downsizing.
No couldn't control that he had been laid off.
But what he could control, once he took that leap out of self-absorption, included:
- The kinds of organizations he was applying to. It would be smart for someone over-50 to consider working in smaller companies or the non-profit sector.
- What about moving away from the negative status of "unemployed" by doing contract assignments? He could register with temp agencies and answer help-wanted on all sorts of help-wanted sites.
- What new skills should he be leaning? Here in Austintown, Ohio, the public library provides free training in just about everything. On Monday I am taking a brush-up course in Excel.
- Was the tone of his cover letter off? Frequently when we are not in a real position of strength we take on an arrogant stance.
- Did the content of the cover letter mirror what could be concluded was the organizational culture? You bet, you have to match your cover letter to the values of the hiring person and their company.
- How about being willing to relocate, including on his own dime? To be more marketable during a recession, I moved, at my own cost, from the then-small town of Greensburg, Pennsylvania to the large city of Pittsburgh, PA. Once there, things started to happen.
It took Joe a few weeks to emerge from being stuck. Currently he is weighing two offers for long-term onsite contract work. The tough nut for him to crack, as for myriad on-demand-economy workers, is the cost of medical insurance. That goes up with age.
The world has changed. Contact Jane Genova for complimentary consultation to get the competitive edge in your marketing communications (firstname.lastname@example.org).